Preface: I was initially not going to write about this until a couple of things happened. Number one: I saw the face of my rapist and who I assume is his wife pop up in my Facebook feed under “People You May Know” yesterday. Though it DID shake me, I was more horrified to learn that this monster grew up to have children. One is a GIRL. I sat and wondered if she would ever know what a fucking horrible monster her father was/is. Number two: I realized via Facebook that I DO have support; that many people never even KNEW that I was raped.
As a part of my own healing, it is imperative that I tell the tale of what happened to me that day. I do not tell this to you to ask for your sympathy or your prayers or whatever-else you are inclined to do. I write this now so that I might make a difference, no matter how small, in the life of someone who has suffered a similar injustice.
So now, I share with you my story.
It happened 24 years ago.
The fact that time could pass me by (or any/all of us, really) so quickly is frightening.
So much can happen in 24 years.
It’s strange to me, still, that an event that has happened so long ago could still be interwoven into the very fabric of my being, my personality, my belief system…what changed me immediately, the very act that made me a victim, also served to make me stronger; to make me a survivor.
Of course I didn’t realize any of this until recently.
It’s all in how you look at things, I suppose. That’s not to say I haven’t spent oodles and gobs of time in therapy: examining every detail and every feeling over and over and over again until I just didn’t want to think of it any longer. Until I just wished I had committed suicide after that horrible event.
I am talking about the day I was raped.
I was a fourteen-year-old girl on that day in March. Even though I had a somewhat rudimentary knowledge at the time of what sex was and that it was useful for procreation (Helloooooo, ancient sex-ed videos in the fifth grade, anyone? Christ.), I wasn’t terribly concerned with it because I had other things to worry about; fitting in (which I never managed to achieve, and in hindsight I am SO glad for this), make-up and how to apply it, what the homecoming dance would be like and what I would wear, WHY was my mother so vehemently opposed to my dying my hair black…y’know, typical things that fourteen-year-old girls SHOULD be worried about.
I had dated an “upper classman” for a short period of time the previous fall. My parents were SO NOT happy about this. I recall my father meeting this “upper classman” once when he came to my house to pick me up for a date. My father’s intuition about this boy was so right on the mark–I wish my father would have punched him out and locked me away until I was better at listening to my own intuitions.
Anyway, things with this boyfriend went south when I heard through the grapevine that my he was screwing one of the cheerleaders at my school. I broke off with him. I remember confronting him in the halls of my high school and forcefully THROWING his class ring at him, using some choice words like “motherfucker” or “worthless asshole” or “fucking dick” or something equally as colorful. (I have ALWAYS sworn like a sailor. If you can’t handle it, you should probably stop reading ANYTHING I write. You will be offended again and again.)
The particular day in question was like any other horrible day in high school. (I HATED high school, for those of you who LOVED it, I’d think you’d best re-evaluate your life–if high school was the best time in your life, then you have not lived. Truly.)
My day was unremarkable, and I was plagued by the usual teen-angst that usually stems from teen heartbreak and blah, blah, blah.
It had been about 3-4 months since I had hucked that wanna-be Josten’s heap of shit siladium ring (purchased at Walmart) at my former crush (whom I shall refer to as ‘X’ for the purpose of this writing). Since I lived in a small town (6,000 people, give or take) and attended a small high school (92 people in my graduating class), I had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing X about school on a regular basis, and of course hearing all about his sexual escapades with girls from both my school and from the schools of surrounding towns (of which I am now certain about 60-70% of these encounters were likely rape situations).
But, I digress.
The particular day in question was like any other horrible day in high school. I recall being on the second floor near the library. The lockers were yellow at the time (perhaps they still are). I was walking from my English classroom to the Drama/Journalism classroom when X presented himself directly and said to me: “Hi!,” he said, “What are you doing after school? I’d like to talk to you.”
I remember looking at him very suspiciously.
I was not a cheerleader, nor a blonde, nor was I popular. I couldn’t fathom why he would even be addressing me, much less why he would want to talk to me??
I believe I said something like: “You want to talk…to ME. After school. About…what, exactly?”
He replied in a smarmy manner “Well, if you want to know, you’ll have to find out.”
My intuition screamed at me: “NO NO NO NO! This guy fucked a cheerleader BEHIND YOUR BACK. Don’t do it. Whatever he has to say does not matter because he is a lying sack of shit!”
Unfortunately, at fourteen, I had not learned to listen to that little nagging voice in my brain that was oftentimes full of suspicion and dread. I agreed to meet with him after school.
It was only talking at the school. What was the harm?
How regretful I was that I had NOT listened to my inner voice. I am still regretful that I did not listen to that inner voice.
I have been told/learned that this is the guilt that all victims of rape feel; “If only I would have/would not have…”, and/or “I wish I would have done ______ instead…”
I have blamed myself for decades at this point. Through over a decade of therapy, I know the fact that I was raped was NOT my fault. This I consciously know. But it doesn’t quell the feeling that I somehow did something wrong.
I met with X after school on the second floor with the yellow lockers. Outside the library.
I was nervous. I felt nauseous. I told myself the conversation would be over soon and I would walk to my mother’s work immediately afterward.
He wanted me to walk with him. He said he had something to show me. We left the second floor of the building, down to the first floor, on to the gym and eventually outdoors–behind the building. I had assumed perhaps his car was parked back there and that this was the end of line and I would be headed home soon.
But his car was not there.
He had something to show me in the basement of the school. In the wrestling practice room.
I had never gone to this part of the school before, and, as with most basements, I immediately felt uncomfortable. This needed to be over and I needed to leave.
It was then that I realized two of X’s friends were in the wrestling practice area, as well. J. And C.
I had never really considered either of these boys before–both had seemed relatively benign, and other than not liking them by their association to the cheating scoundrel X, I didn’t really have any issue with them. I assumed X and I would talk, I would leave and they would finish doing whatever wrestling-related things that boys who participated in wrestling did in their ‘practice time.’
I nodded hello to both of his friends.
Of course I did not realize their role was to be the ‘lookouts.’
X ushered me to a room that was padded in green, with mirrors on the walls.
I recall muttering something like “So this is the practice area, huh? Huh.”
At which point, X grabbed me about the waist. He tried kissing me and I responded by turning my face away from him and attempting to push him away.
“What the fuck are you doing?!! You know you’re not my boyfriend. You made that clear months ago when you fucked that stupid cheerleader. REMEMBER?”
Once again, he pressed himself against me. I realized I could feel his erect penis through my clothing. I didn’t know it were possible, but I became even more uncomfortable that I already was.
I immediately wanted out of that room. He was attempting to take off my clothes and was met with my resistance at every turn.
“C’mon. Let’s fuck,” he growled.
“NO. NOOOO! I…I have to go. Also, we can’t have sex. I could get pregnant and…”
He grabbed at his crotch and I saw his pants were unzipped.
He then said to me, “No, you won’t. I have a condom on.”
I started for the door and he grabbed me around my waist. I struggled to free myself and landed promptly on the floor. He had used some wrestling move to put me there. A leg sweep, perhaps (I do not currently, nor will I ever know or want to know the correct term)?
And then he was on top of me.
He was heavy. And I couldn’t break free.
I began to cry. I began to try to reason my way out of the situation. I struggled. I prayed for God to deliver me from my situation.
My prayers went unanswered.
I BEGGED him to PLEASE STOP.
Just please STOP STOP STOP STOP.
As I begged he forcefully removed my black leggings and my underwear (from one leg only) and SHOVED his member into me.
I remember pain.
I remember tears streaming down my face.
I remember looking at the mirrors on the wall, watching this girl…this girl who certainly could not be me…watching this 110 lb, sobbing girl who was trapped underneath a grunting 18-year old male. This could certainly not be ME.
After he had finished, he grabbed both of my wrists; his face likely less than 3 inches from mine.
He then licked my face.
I nearly vomited.
He said to me “Don’t fucking tell anyone. If you do, remember I know where you live. I know where your family lives.”
I thought of my brothers. My younger brothers. My baby brothers. I was protective of them as a child, I was protective of them in that moment and I am still protective of them, even in our adult years. I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone hurting my brothers, moreover I could not bear the thought of my brothers being hurt because OF ME.
X loosened his hold on me.
He stood up, looked at me in what I understood to be hatred and disgust and said “Get up.”
He left the wrestling practice room.
Bewildered and ashamed, I put my leg back into the leg of my underpants, back into the leg of my black leggings.
I walked out into the main practice area and met the faces of J, C and X.
I remember the faces of the two lookouts; expressionless.
I walked up the steps and out into the back parking lot of the high school. Into the cold sunlight of late March. I heard laughter behind me, in the wrestling practice area.
The word ‘rape‘ was not a word I was familiar with.,.perhaps in church, in some Old Testament shit that I didn’t pay attention to.
I knew I had been forced to do something that I did NOT want to do.
And I felt it was my fault.
I remember going to my mother’s place of work after leaving the high school.
She knew something was wrong as I was visibly upset. She asked me why I was upset and for the first time in my life, I could not tell her. I was fearful of the repercussions.
I told her I didn’t feel well and that I needed to go home. I kept telling her I felt sick.
I wanted home.
I just wanted home.
I just wanted home and my momma.
But I couldn’t tell my momma, and she couldn’t make it better.
This is all I can handle for now.
Please excuse me. Even though 24 years has passed, writing this has made me physically ill.